Homemade Italian Eats at Paese Ristorante – Toronto

toronto-paese

By: Shelby Morrison

Paese (pa’eze) means “town” or “village”, and this Italian eatery has been a neighbourhood staple for over 25 years and brings fresh Italian food to its loyal customers. With everything being homemade, you can ensure that all dishes are fresh and prepared with care.

paese-toronto

The restaurant is busy, yet warm and welcoming on a Saturday night. The extensive wine list caught the eye of my dining partner who ordered a red wine, while I was excited by the Paese Collins which included gin, lemon and thyme-infused syrup. The hint of sweetness and refreshing flavour of thyme and lemon made for the perfect accompaniment to my meal.

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Appetizers

Fresh bread was immediately delivered to our table with a delectable white bean dip with mint and roasted garlic. I always love a good French fry, especially when it is topped with white truffle oil, Parmiagiano Reggiano, thyme and sea salt. I decided to order these as an appetizer, but also couldn’t resist the meatballs.

House ground beef short rib sirloin, and brisket with thyme and pecorino were braised in a tomato sauce and cooked to perfection. These two appetizers were the perfect start to my meal.

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The Main Course

I can never decide between pasta and pizza, especially when they all look so yummy. Why choose when you can have both?! The idea of beef pepperoni seemed intriguing so I opted for the Canadese pizza with house made beef pepperoni, mushrooms, mozzarella and tomato sauce. I really enjoyed being able to eat pepperoni, which was a nice complement to the thin crust and simple mushrooms and tomato sauce.

mushroom-garganelli-paese

As for the pasta, we chose the mushroom and spinach garganelli, which combined a shape similar to penne, with roasted wild mushrooms and spinach with testun di Barolo (cheese), parmiagiano cheese, and truffle oil. The truffle flavour was not overpowering, which is impressive, while the mushrooms were quite juicy and meaty. I truly enjoyed this pasta’s depth of flavour.

butterscotch-pudding

Dessert

Anything with caramel is usually my go-to, so the butterscotch pudding caught my eye. It was topped with a layer of salted caramel, whipped cream and a pine nut and rosemary praline. The smooth, creamy texture with the flavour of caramel was basically heaven. The pine nut and rosemary praline was a unique, but welcomed addition to this dessert.

I was very pleased and satisfied with my meal at Paese and would recommend it as a warm neighbourhood spot. It’s perfect for those nights where you want a good meal, but you don’t want to go all the way downtown and there’s also free parking. The fresh, homemade food will surely impress and delight.

— Shelby Morrison